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Audrey Jones Beck Building, Museum of Fine Arts by Rafael Moneo 

Photographer: Michael Moran 

Architect/Designer: Rafael Moneo

Client: The Monacelli Press

Location: Houston, TX

Shoot Date: 
June 05, 2008 
Published Date: 
January 01, 2010 
The Audrey Jones Beck Building is part of a museum campus that started off with a neoclassical construction by William Ward Watkin and was extended twice by Mies van der Rohe. Hence, special attention went to the building’s orientation: it made sense for it to stand alone on Main Street because of its importance, as well as to guarantee its independence – the building is not subjected to the orientation established by Mies van der Rohe’s museum, to which it is connected by an underground tunnel containing a work of art by James Turrell. To meet the program requirements, it was ‘obligatory’ to take up the whole plot. This, once again, led to a type of architecture which, having accepted the perimeter, aspired to free use of interior spaces; it led to the compact architecture that the architect had begun to explore in projects like the Bank of Spain in Jaén, a style that was necessary when bearing in mind that the new building was to be home to three very well defined collections. The sections clearly show the lighting criteria followed – not very different from those used at the Thyssen and in Stockholm – and the extent to which the museum must be understood as the result of putting together spaces of very different nature. All this occurs without dispensing with circulation criteria that allow visitors to move efficiently and freely. (Rafael Moneo) 
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